Solicitor struck off for antisemitic and offensive tweets


Tweets: Solicitor sent messages to KC and journalist

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) today struck off the practitioner it found earlier this week had published antisemitic and offensive posts on Twitter.

Some of the key tweets from Farrukh Najeeb Husain were directed at Simon Myerson KC, a Jewish barrister, and Hugo Rifkind, a Jewish journalist at The Times.

He was reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) by leading law firm Bevan Brittan, where he was working as a self-employed consultant to deliver on a particular client mandate in spring 2021.

The SDT hearing has been held over several days since September. Upholding the allegations, the tribunal found some, but not all, of the tweets that were offensive and/or inappropriate also to be antisemitic.

William Ellerton, chair of the panel, announced the decision on sanction this afternoon after more than three hours of deliberation, with the reasons to be published as usual in the coming weeks.

The tribunal denied the SRA’s application for costs, however, making no order for costs.

Mr Husain, who represented himself, absented himself from the hearing today and the tribunal decided to proceed in his absence, as the solicitor had requested.

Representing the SRA, Louise Culleton – a barrister at Capsticks – said Mr Husain had provided a letter from his GP that he would not attend because of a decline in his mental health and concerns that it would get worse if he did.

The tribunal did not allow Ms Culleton’s application to address it on sanction – the SRA does not have an automatic right to this – but she did seek to counter Mr Husain’s claim that his conduct was caused by a medical condition, pointing out that he also admitted the views were in general those that he held and that he had argued his case from a freedom of speech perspective.

He had also blamed “bad or hasty” drafting of his tweets for any antisemitic connotations.

In the case put to the SDT, the SRA argued that Mr Husain frequently used the word ‘Zionist’ as a synonym or substitute for ‘Jew’.

Though Mr Husain insisted to the SRA that he was anti-Zionist but not antisemitic, the SRA argued that he appeared “to conflate antisemitism, anti-Zionism and opposition to the Israeli government and in fact lead to him demonstrating hostility towards Jews because they are Jewish”.

Mr Husain was also found to have abused SRA staff during its investigation of the matter.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “This is the right sanction. Farrukh Najeeb Husain’s rhetoric online was vile, and there was no evidence of any regard or remorse for the hurt and disgust that he caused.

“The SRA was right to bring this case to restore confidence in the legal profession, and we were pleased to be able to contribute expert opinion at the hearing in order to inform the panel and bring about this week’s decision and today’s sanction.

“The SDT has shown that there is no place for antisemitism in English law.”




    Readers Comments

  • Dave says:

    Without the content of the tweets, at least in summary, it is hard to draw any sensible lessons from the finding. It would be extremely concerning if adherence to the Zionist political agenda is promoted to the status of a protected characteristic. The fact that most Zionists are also Jewish does not render valid criticism of the actions of Israel and the extremist elements within the Israeli government coalition antisemitic.


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